The Gospel of John in Modern Interpretation provides a unique look at the lives and work of eight interpreters who have significantly influenced Johannine studies over the last two centuries. The chapters contain short biographical sketches of the scholars that illuminate their personal and academic lives, followed by summaries and evaluations of their major works, and concluding with an analysis of the ongoing relevance of their work in contemporary Johannine scholarship.
Key thinkers surveyed include C. H. Dodd, Rudolph Bultmann, Raymond Brown, Leon Morris, and R. Alan Culpepper. An introduction and conclusion by general editors Stanley Porter and Ron Fay trace the development of Johannine scholarship from F. C. Baur to the present, and examine how these eight scholars’ contributions to Johannine studies have shaped the field. Anyone interested in the recent history of the study of John will find this volume indispensable.
“The first major figure to argue for a major reconception of John’s gospel in light of historical-critical thought was David Friedrich Strauss (1808–1874) in first his The Life of Jesus Critically Examined, and then his A New Life of Jesus. He placed John’s gospel in the mid-second century and dismissed its historical value, along with any supernatural elements.” (Page 20)
“Ferdinand Christian Baur (1792–1860), the first major scholar to argue rigorously for such a position and who functioned within the mainstream of academic theology. Baur examined the various levels of tradition and dated John’s gospel to the mid-second century, perhaps around AD 160–170, a point at which its developed theology was confirmed and any connection with apostolic authorship was completely severed.” (Pages 20–21)
“treated John’s gospel as not historical but mythical, a work of what he called ‘fiction.’” (Page 20)
“Dodd argued that John’s gospel made use of independent, previous oral tradition” (Pages 30–31)
“historical criticism and the other was a pietist response” (Page 20)
Here is an extremely well-chosen collection of vignettes of major Johannine scholars from the late 1800s to the present. Not only do we learn of their contributions and significance, but we get a feel for their lives and social contexts. This is exemplary scholarship modeled in a fashion not quite paralleled anywhere else. If the series this volume inaugurates can continue this quality of offering, it will be of extraordinary value.
—Craig L. Blomberg, Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary
The Gospel of John in Modern Interpretation is a wonderful introduction to the fascinating world that is the New Testament study of John’s gospel. Tracing the general history of the gospel’s treatment, and focusing on the contribution of several key scholars, this book also traces the discussions that drive the gospel’s study and how best to read it. The gospel of John has been an outlier in Jesus studies. This work explains why that should not be so, and what one must pay attention to in reading this crucial gospel. It is well worth a careful read.
—Darrell L. Bock, Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
This is a very worthwhile volume, because instead of viewing ‘modern interpretation’ as an abstraction, it looks at eight, carefully chosen modern interpreters, with their whole careers and scholarly contributions in view—not merely their work on John’s gospel. Three of them (Rudolf Bultmann, C. H. Dodd, and Raymond E. Brown) are obvious choices. Five others have been either half-forgotten (B. F. Westcott), unfairly neglected or underappreciated (Adolf Schlatter and Leon Morris), dismissed as idiosyncratic (John A. T. Robinson), or pigeonholed as a ‘mere’ literary critic (R. Alan Culpepper). They all deserve better, and this collection calls attention, once again, to their substantial contributions. A much needed and promising correction. Thank you, Stan Porter and Ron Fay, and your authors!
—J. Ramsey Michaels, Professor of Religious Studies Emeritus, Missouri State University, Springfield